Scholarships for STEM Program (S-STEM)

Cohort 3 Scholar Profiles

Cohort 3 scholars received the S-STEM award Fall of 2017.

Maximillian Abraham

Max smiling in a hallway I grew up in Hana, Maui, Hawaiʻi. I am the first to attend college in my immediate family. Mathematics is my favorite subject rivaled only by my passion for science because I have always been more logical and analytical than artistic. I love to free climb, run cross country and surf. These activities help me vent my stress and motivate me to do my best in all I pursue. I spent my time after school doing extra-curricular activities, but my school was very small and has limited resources causing me to seek other opportunities. I love the wild and never turn away a chance to get my hands dirty if it allows me to do any good for my home and community.

Becoming a Biologist is more than a goal or a job to me, it is lifestyle. Observing my island's endemic species vanish due to the invasive species aggressive nature, expanding at alarming rates without notice. The damage caused by humans that has been left unchecked until no remedy can heal the scars of ignorance. I watch helplessly as I pay for the mistakes of those who came before me. Growing into the maturity to join the fight of preserving life not destroying it and finding I am not the only one, yet I am only one, who has a dream to change what will be to what should be.

The years I have spent on this island paradise (Maui) have caused me to want nothing more than to make this my destination where my journey begins and ends. This is my home, but the only way I can make an impact here is to leave the nest and acquire an education.

Bruce Torres Fischer

Bruce working in a lab My motivation for entering college stems from my passion for conservation and science that I developed from early childhood experiences in Belize. As a child, I have always loved learning about plants, animals, and studying their behavior and life cycles. The initial seed that planted the idea of a career in conservation in my mind was the show, “The Crocodile Hunter” on the Discovery Channel. At thirteen, I researched volunteer opportunities in conservation biology and applied to the Green Iguana Project where I worked with biologists to feed, care for, and breed green iguanas, and educate visitors on conservation issues in Belize. These experiences inspired me to choose biology as a career path. While in Hawaiʻi, I also completed the Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) summer program which exposed me to Hawaiʻi’s ecosystems for the first time. During HYCC, I had the opportunity to do hands-on work in conservation while meeting professionals in the field. After graduating, it is my wish to produce meaningful research that has a positive impact on my community.

Stephanie Lewis

Stephanie smiling on a beach My name is Stephanie Lewis, I’m attending UH Hilo and majoring in Astronomy, which I plan to make my career. Ever since I was a child, I have loved looking at the stars. The vastness and science behind it has always fascinated me, and has driven me ever since to pursue my dream. I have always had great work ethic and focus, and have used these to thrive in high school and make it to college. I plan to attend UH Mānoa to get my Ph.D in Astronomy, and come back to the big island to work at a major astronomy company like CFHT or Keck Observatory.

Devynn Louie

Devynn smiling in glasses In elementary school I enjoyed staying after school just to have my teachers assign me extra math problems. I always looked forward to science/math workbooks, scientific studies, anything science or math related. In the fourth grade I won an award for winning a district-wide math competition and it was one of the times I felt so proud of myself knowing how much I valued math. I struggled finding my path in the early years of high school, but as soon as I found it I thrived. Science and math classes became my relief, they were where I knew I was succeeding and would continue to succeed. I am now a Chemistry major who hopes to become a pharmacist, a forensic scientist, and a professor. These will allow me to reach all aspects of science I am very interested in and hopefully get to educate others on what I have learned/experienced.

Ashley Romero

Ashley smiling on Mauna Kea's summit with telescopes in the background I was raised by my single mother my entire life who worked hard, to make sure that my needs were taken care of. We never had a lot but we always made it work. It taught me to be appreciative of the little things in life. My focus is to find ways to integrate my passion for animals and my wish to live a fulfilling life with my desire to see the world move towards a healthier and more sustainable future. I would like to help in a movement towards an environmentally conscious, and efficient world. I believe the first way to make an impact is to start locally, and branch out beyond that afterwards. Wherever I go, I always want to learn about the community I am working and living in and learn from the people who have lived in these areas.

Currently I am working as a Research Assistant helping with molecular biology, and genetics work. I have also worked on a project that aims to look at ecological characteristics of native Hawaiian bird populations and how they may be correlated with a certain extinction risk based on IUCN extinction status. Once I graduate with my B.S. I plan on taking a year to work and volunteer in my community and get to know the people in the organizations I am interested in working with. I would also like to travel and volunteer with communities in other countries as well. After this, I plan on going to grad school, to obtain either my masters or Ph.D. I hope to find work that I can be passionate about, and I feel will really make an impact on the world.

Gina Selig

Gina smiling in front of a water fall My name is Gina Selig and I am currently a sophomore at UH Hilo majoring in Marine Science. I was born in North Carolina and raised in South Dakota. On top of teaching me the value of hard work, both my parents always encouraged me to embrace my creativity. At the age seven, I started to take dance and piano classes where I performed and participated in competitions. I also love to paint and have had some of my art win at competitions and published in University publications. However, I love science as much as I do the arts.

During high school, my love for science only grew. My decision to pursue marine science stems from my wonder and love for the ocean. As a child, I would imagine myself as a marine biologist exploring the deep ocean. I wanted to know more about why things work and dreamed about the discoveries I could be making someday. I’m nearly halfway through my undergraduate education and that still hasn’t changed. After I got SCUBA certified and dove in different countries, I was reassured that marine science was the perfect degree for me. Since my freshman year of college, I have become an authorized scientific diver for UH Hilo and have participated in many coral health and fish surveys. I am currently also an intern for the Marine Mammal Center Ke Kai Ola. My goals are to bring awareness of the importance of ocean conservancy and to make positive impacts.

Solomon Singer

Solomon smiling by the ocean I was homeschooled, with diverse professional background experiences of professional horse training, pilot, mechanic, inventor, and beekeeping before I started college. My focus is medicine, and I am working towards becoming an Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon in Hawaiʻi. I volunteer at Hilo Medical Center, UH Hilo Student Medical Services, and the Good Shepherd Foundation, an animal rescue and outreach organization in Puna, Hawaiʻi. I write for Ke Kalahea, UH Hilo’s Student Newspaper, as a Health and Wellness writer and UH Hilo Student Medical Service’s Outreach Volunteer. I am a certified private pilot, commercial radio license holder, aviation instrument ground instructor, and certified rescue diver. I plan to attend John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu, and become a Trauma Surgeon. I will return to the Island of Hawaiʻi to practice.